A British diver who helped rescue a schoolboy football team from a flooded cave in Thailand has dismissed Elon Musk’s offer to use a mini-sub of his own design to help the mission as a “PR stunt.”
Unsworth said that the five foot six long rigid mini-sub, would not be able to navigate the narrow twists and turns of the Tham Luang cave the 12 children and their coach were stranded in.
“He can stick his submarine where it hurts. It wouldn’t have made the first 50 meters into the cave from the dive start point. Just a PR stunt,” he added.
Elon Musk travelled to the Tham Luang caverns earlier this week and presented the “kid sized” vessel, which he said could help free the team marooned inside the flooded tunnels.
The SpaceX and Tesla CEO earlier said that he would try to help with the rescue operation and refashioned part of a Falcon 9 rocket into an underwater escape capsule for the children.
But according to media reports, Musk was “politely” told that the mini-submarine would not be of use.
“Although his technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission,” Narongsak Osatanakorn, head of the command center overseeing the rescue, told reporters.
Musk tweeted that the mini-sub was “ready if needed” and would be left at the cave system as it “may be useful in the future.”
The last four team members and their coach were brought out of the Tham Luang cave, near the border with Myanmar, on Tuesday.
The 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, were stranded in the cave on June 23rd before heavy rainfall caused floods that blocked their exit.
They were trapped for 18 days, and one former Thai Navy SEAL died trying to exit the cave after delivering emergency oxygen.